I’ve said similar things before, but it wasn’t until today that I realized how much I love netbooks. Someone showed a bit of interest, so I threw up a great tirade of excited chatter.
Netbooks are good for nearly everything you do on a computer. If you want to do high-level rendering or leading-edge gaming (by which I mean something made in the last ten years), you can get a desktop system with a powerful CPU for only a few hundred dollars.
If you really need a lot of storage, well, that’s not what a netbook is for. You can very well get a two-terabyte external USB drive, and either lug it around or not. With the netbook itself, 40 GB is plenty (16GB SSD + 16GB SD + 8GB USB Drive).
It has a great keyboard, it has a powerful wireless card, and its—to use Steve Job’s favourite word—magical to tilt and flip in your hands. And for $200? You’re getting more than you paid for, certainly.
A couple things:
- The battery isn’t perfect. I’ve come to realize that the power cord really holds me down, like an anchor on a boat. It’s also kind of long and gangly, and isn’t a joy to pack up between plug-ins. The battery should last about sixteen hours, in a perfect world; then I could just plug it in at night.
- I got it at such a low clearance price because the tech is kind of old. The SSD performs a bit worse than a hard-disk drive, which is really saying something. An upgrade would only cost $100, and it’ll be zippy as hell, but I have to find the right offering, first, and get it shipped to me (PATA ZIF SSDs are relatively uncommon, and slower than the newer interfaces). Then I’d have to reinstall Windows.
- It’s great to have with you, but… no-one has yet thought about how to carry it? I need some sort of Netbook Holster. Backpacks are unwieldy, and I want both hands free. My custom-made extra-pocket is kind of crappy, and rips too often to walk around with it like I want to.
Those are minor complaints. SSDs are incredibly young, and I can just upgrade the drive. I can make a better holster within a few days, with the proper materials. I can get an extended battery, which would last six hours, at least, and that number would increase if I installed a power-smart OS.
There are two things the iPad did that seems to completely fly over everyone else’s heads: The battery life is all-day, so there’s no power cord tying you down; and the entire experience is snappy and smooth, due to its speed.
Netbooks could do those things, and then they would be awesome. Plus, you’d be able to use all your Windows executables; that’s something the iPad can’t do.